HELPING FRESHERS FACE THEIR FUTURES…

A NORTH East organisation, which teaches people to manage stress and anxiety, has warned of the pressures facing Freshers.

 

As first year students prepare for their first term at university and college, Consett-based social enterprise Living Mindfully, which has led the UK in its work with young people, has called for awareness of the challenges they face.

 

Living Mindfully is one of the UK’s leading organisations in delivering mindfulness programmes; mindfulness has been recommended by NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence), to help treat depression.

 

Living Mindfully is the only organisation in the country to be commissioned to take GP referrals throughout a whole county and its team works closely with Public Health, County Durham, and Public Health, Darlington, teaching mindfulness in schools and to students at Durham University.

 

Now, it is calling on higher education institutions to help students start their academic studies in the best way possible, by offering practical tools and advice to facilitate helpful ways of living and studying immediately and for the future.

 

“We know, from experience that going to college or ‘uni,’ can be great fun, but also can feel quite overwhelming,” said Living Mindfully project leader Jill Cox.

 

“Students are faced with so many new and challenging situations; being away from home, meeting new people, finding their way around new environments, adapting to new teaching styles and getting to grips with the standards and expectations can all be very stressful.

 

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“Add to that the pressure of managing work schedules, social options and domestic chores – often without having parental shoulders to lean on – and it is no wonder some students find it hard to cope.

 

“Mindfulness techniques can be a wonderful introduction to students at the start of their college life.  They give them life skills that can support and benefit them not only through their studies but also into their working and social lives beyond.”

 

Mindfulness encourages people to focus their attention on the present moment, to gain insight into the workings of their minds and to find space and kindness to be able to respond in a helpful and considered manner rather than to dwell on the past or worry about the future.

 

By helping people to be fully present in the moment, mindfulness has been shown to aid concentration, help them prioritise their workloads and find a correct balance between work and play.

 

“Developing tools to help take personal control and manage one’s life can build self-confidence. Nurturing self-compassion and to believe in oneself, socially and academically, can alleviate enormous amounts of pressure,” said Jill.

 

“While universities and colleges understandably put an emphasis on academic achievement, many are now seeing the importance of offering guidance in social and emotional wellbeing – and this is crucial.”

 

For more information about Living Mindfully, its courses and referral requirements, call 01207 693909 or visit its website at www.livingmindfully.co.uk.

 

Fujitsu launches 1st Innovation Hub in Scotland in partnership with Borders College

LONDON, September 29th 2015 – Fujitsu today launched its 7th Innovation Hub, as Borders College Scotland becomes the latest member of the Fujitsu-Intel Ambassador Programme.

 

Selected as an education Ambassador due to its objective to raise the aspirations of its students through the use of technology, the Borders College’s Innovation Hub launch marks the first of its kind in Scotland.

 

The initiative aims to enhance teaching and unleash students’ potential by putting technology at the heart of education. It is aligned with the objectives of the Education Technology Action Group (ETAG), whose mission is to promote the use of digital technology across schools, further education, higher education and Special Education Needs (SEN) sectors.

 

Borders College is situated within the Scottish Borders and enrols 5500 students every year. Of the utmost importance to the college is offering their students an alternative future career path to the traditional industries and roles based within Galashiels and its surrounding area.

 

“This is at the root of why we wanted this college and its team to become part of the Ambassador Programme – their desire to support in shaping future generations of students and inspiring them to take-up technology subjects,” said Ash Merchant, Head of Business Development for Education at Fujitsu.

 

“Technology no longer plays just a supporting role in our lives. It is prevalent at home and at work and it demands a new skillset if the next generation are to use it to develop their capabilities, ideas and successes. We are very proud to partner with Borders College to ensure their students and the surrounding community can realise potential technology can provide.”

 

Fujitsu have supplied 10 devices to the school from the STYLISTIC Tablets, LIFEBOOK Notebooks and ESPRIMO Desktop PC ranges. 150 students will have access to the technology initially, but the hub will soon be opened to the local community for public use.

 

Suzanne Scott, Technology Enhanced Learning Manager at Borders College, commented on the partnership: “We are delighted to have been chosen as the first Fujitsu Innovation Hub in Scotland and this is testament to the commitment of Borders College to create a more inspiring campus environment for our students.

 

“With the increasing demand for digitally savvy students, the provision of the Fujitsu devices and support for future projects in this area secures a continuation of the good work the College has done to date. Most importantly it allows the College to create a more realistic work environment for our students with greater opportunities and insight into the world of work, such as the one offered by global organisations such as Fujitsu, not to mention an inspirational environment for the local community to use”.

 

As part of the Ambassador Programme, Fujitsu has partnered with educational institutions across the UK, including UTC Reading, NAS Thames Valley School and City College Coventry. All ambassadors have been selected based on their recognition of technology as an enabler to enhance the learning experience and to develop digital skills for students and teachers.

 

Borders College also becomes an official Tablet Academy Training Centre – a Fujitsu partner who supports in training the teaching teams in the newly acquired technologies. This is at the heart of this entire Ambassador Programme – not just providing the latest, high quality technology, but supporting how that technology is put to work within the education environment, ensuring it is used effectively.

 

Pam Currie, CEO, Tablet Academy, Scotland commented: “Tablet Academy Scotland is delighted to be partnering with Borders College and Fujitsu to ensure that the Fujitsu Innovation Hub delivers impact for college staff, students and the wider community. As an official Tablet Academy Scotland Training Centre, the college and its Innovation Hub will become a focal point for the delivery of exciting digital workshops and courses. Our courses and workshops will showcase the technology available and support the college and the wider community to develop digital skills and collaborative working practices that make the most of the technology on offer.”

 

DISCOVERY EDUCATION PARTNERS WITH INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS ASSOCIATION TO SUPPORT TEACHERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY WITH ITS AWARD-WINNING DIGITAL CONTENT

 

 

– Discovery Education selected as preferred supplier to deliver digital content to Independent Schools Association members to improve achievement, and prepare students for the challenges of tomorrow. –

 

London, UK (28 September 2015) – Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content for school classrooms, announced its partnership with Independent Schools Association (ISA), a progressive organization of UK independent schools, becoming one of their official Gold Preferred Suppliers for more than 360 schools across the UK. Discovery Education will build upon ISA’s close school partnerships to provide engaging digital content for primary and secondary age pupils, along with professional development and networking opportunities to support teachers as they prepare today’s students to meet tomorrow’s challenges.

 

“We’re proud to be awarded the Gold Preferred Supplier status and to be working with the fantastic members of ISA. We hope that by offering high-quality content with ready-to-implement digital teaching strategies, alongside our unique virtual experiences and exciting competitions, we will support teaching staff and students to embrace technology and become digital leaders,” explained Susanne Thompson, Vice President of Discovery Education.

 

As part of this new relationship, Discovery Education will continue its close relationship with Claires Court School, Maidenhead, Berkshire, an ISA member. In the course of its partnership with Claires Court, Discovery Education has provided dynamic digital content through its Discovery Education Secondary service plus professional development for teachers and student digital leaders. One particular opportunity awarded a Claires Court School teacher the opportunity to travel to America for a week of professional development at the Discovery Education Summer Institute.

 

“It was inspiring to be surrounded by some of the most talented and passionate educators in the world. The culture of the Discovery Education Summer Institute is one of complete support and collaboration. We all learned new ways of working which we can immediately deploy into our classrooms and I’ve expanded my professional network,” expressed participant, André Boulton, Design & Technology Teacher and Head of ICT at Claires Court School.

 

Discovery Education believes in facilitating collaboration between innovative schools that are passionate about using technology to enhance learning experiences. Therefore, ISA members are supported by the Discovery Education Community. As part of the Community, teachers have the opportunity to connect with other like-minded professionals to share novel and dynamic techniques with one another, through in-person conferences, virtual events, and social media to foster valuable collaboration, networking, and inspiration.

 

“Our goal at ISA was to find a solution designed for all ages, across the core subject areas to help inspire our members to use digital media to engage students. We’re thrilled that Discovery Education offers high quality digital resource services, plus professional development and networking opportunities, so our schools can continue to enhance the learning experience,” expressed Neil Roskilly, Chief Executive Officer, ISA

 

For more information about Discovery Education’s services and the global Community, visit www.discoveryeducation.co.uk

Clearwater International advises on €26m sale of Synarbor to Sovereign Capital

Synarbor plc (Synarbor), a market leading education recruitment business, has been sold to Sovereign Capital Partners LLP. Clearwater International advised the company on the sale.

Synarbor, head-quartered in Sheffield, has over 20 years’ experience in placing staff in the state, independent and international education sectors. The business predominantly supplies temporary teachers, teaching assistants and support staff to its clients, which comprise primary and secondary schools (including academies), and also special educational needs schools and nurseries. The business is differentiated in the market by its unique managed service, schools collaborative approach, including added value offerings ranging from consultancy through to fully managed turnaround services. The business engages with approximately 2,000 clients.

Sovereign Capital’s directors consider that Synarbor has a number of attractive characteristics including its strength of operational brands, branch network and geographical spread. With expectations to invest in Synarbor through additional consultants and resources in order to deliver continued growth, the business can look forward to an exciting period of its history going forward under Sovereign’s ownership.

Clearwater International partner Marcus Archer and associate director Andy Dyer advised Synarbor on the sale. This is the sixth deal that Clearwater’s Business Services team has completed in the education sector, having also advised on the sales of Teaching Personnel (to RJD Partners and then Graphite Capital), ITN Mark, Vision for Education and Sugarman Group.

Dennis Hall, Independent Non-Executive Director of Synarbor plc, said:

“Clearwater International did a great job in supporting us through the sale process. They brought their real depth of education recruitment sector knowledge to bear on the transaction, leaving no stone unturned in finding the right buyer to take the business forward on the next stage of its development. Further, the team’s dedication to getting the deal done was unstinting and their negotiation skills came to the fore in delivering a fair deal for the shareholders. I would have no hesitation in recommending Marcus and the team to any businesses looking to transact in this sector.”

Marcus Archer, Head of Business Services, Clearwater International commented:

 “The sale to Sovereign Capital Partners provides an exit at a fair valuation for a long tail of shareholders, many of whom have held the stock since it de-listed from AIM in 2008. The current board and management team, supported by significant shareholders, Baird Capital Partners and Risk Capital Partners, have done a fantastic job in turning around the business and turning Synarbor into one of the pre-eminent players in the UK education recruitment market. In Sovereign they have found an investor with the appetite to invest in and grow the business on the next phase of its journey. It has been a pleasure working with the Board to realise an exit for the shareholders and we wish the business, its shareholders and employees well on the start of their new journey.”

NEW ENGLISH SET TEXTS ADDED TO DISCOVERY EDUCATION SECONDARY SERVICE IN RESPONSE TO UPDATED GCSES AND SCHOOL PARTNERS’ NEEDS

 

− Discovery Education, as part of its core mission to empower teachers and engage pupils with high-quality, engaging digital content, adds over seventy videos and teaching resources for English set texts to prepare students and teachers for the GCSEs, and accommodate school partners’ needs. −

 

 

UNITED KINGDOM (22 September 2015) – Discovery Education announced the addition of over 70 videos for set texts, novels set by an exam board, which students are asked to study for their English Literature GCSEs. These new learning tools were developed in response to the latest round of exam updates in September.

 

“We are continuously updating our services, because we want to be sure our material is up-to-date with the latest curriculum so we can support teachers in delivering great teaching and learning. Discovery Education released the new set texts to address the demand by English teachers and students for 2015 GCSE content and to expand our offering across a range of specs for English,” explains Anna Vaughan, Curriculum Strategy and Development Manager at Discovery Education.

 

The videos cover the various areas a student must explore with the novel: language, theme, characters, context, etc. This includes looking at the contextual influences of a novel, for example exploring the real 19th century science behind Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, investigating how language is manipulated in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, or how Jane Austen represents the privilege of Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. Alongside lesson plans, these resources will allow students and teachers to prepare with assurance for their English Literature exams.

 

These engaging and helpful videos, which are ideal as lesson starters or as revision materials, were created specifically for all current GCSEs. While teachers will also find some of the set texts resources suitable for Key Stage 3 study.

 

All of these resources are available within the schools’ Discovery Education Secondary subscription.

 

Discovery Education Secondary is a new digital service, offering video-rich, cross-curricular, dynamic content, designed to empower teachers and inspire students to reach their full potential. The programme provides thousands of digital resources to support the teaching of the curriculum at Key Stages 3 and 4.

 

For more information about Discovery Education Secondary and the new set texts resources, please visit http://www.discoveryeducation.co.uk/.

Evidence and research take centre stage at ESIC 2015

A global audience of more than 400 researchers, scientists and professionals joined the SI Network (UK & Ireland) on September 10 to 12 for three days of life changing learning at ESIC in Birmingham, both in person and online via live streaming.

The burning issue at the Congress was the growing body of evidence to support Ayres Sensory Integration being an evidence based practice, whilst at the same time the effectiveness of Ayres Sensory Integration keeps being called into question.

The expert keynote speakers and therapists attending ESIC were on the front-foot when it came to presenting a strong case for ASI:

Professor Roseann Schaaf of Thomas Jefferson University led the pro evidence argument, announcing, “We have it!” She went on to demonstrate how a recent study, led by herself and Dr Zoe Mailloux into Occupational Therapy using Ayres Sensory Integration for children with autism, meets the criteria for an evidence-based practice according to the PRISMA guidelines (Adopted by the American Journal of Occupational Therapy), The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders and the Council for Exceptional Children.

Professor Schaaf says, ”We need to get this kind of recognition from individuals outside and within the profession who’ve been questioning the value and efficacy of ASI. So I think it is a huge leap forward.”

Mag. Elisabeth Soechting, co-founder and President of the Austrian SI organisation GSIOe and PhD student at the University of Vienna, then unveiled her incisive review of studies into the effectiveness of ASI between 2007 and 2013. She found that three studies fulfilled the requirements of a Randomised Control Trial and that many more showed supportive evidence based practice for ASI. Elisabeth also discovered that over 50% of the studies that claimed to be evaluating SI, were in fact looking at sensory approaches, such as sensory rooms and did not employ ASI therapy: that is following Ayers principles as set out in the Fidelity Measure (2007).

Building on the identified need for more research of good quality, the SI Network took the opportunity to announce a series of research grant awards with a total value of £20,000.

Gemma Cartwright, the SI Network’s Research Development Director, says:

“Our challenge is to develop the evidence base for Ayres’ Sensory Integration including sensory strategies prescribed following a thorough assessment (Data Driven Decision Making Processs (2104)). Doing this will help raise awareness, shape training and education programmes and ensure therapeutic interventions are accessible and available to any individual who may benefit. Without demonstrating ASI is a cost effective approach, with an ever increasingly robust evidence base, the application of ASI as an approach and an effective intervention will continue to be in question.”

 

For more information about the research grants please go to www.sensoryintegration.org.uk/research

Pupil exposure to ICT continues to rise despite its value being questioned

Despite a recent OECD report questioning the value of classroom technology, UK schools continue to increase the amount of teaching time using ICT.

 

The British Educational Suppliers Association’s (BESA) annual ‘ICT in UK State Schools’ research findings shows that pupils are currently exposed to ICT for 53 per cent of teaching time in comparison to 50 per cent in 2014.

 

The 609 schools surveyed (294 primary and 315 secondary) forecast that this exposure will continue to rise, with pupils expected to use technology for 58 per cent of learning time by 2017.

 

The UK has always led the way in terms of the use of technology in education, with many thousands of educators from schools overseas attending Bett, the world’s largest technology in education event, each year.

 

Caroline Wright, director general designate at BESA said, “The OECD report is based on international findings and is not solely focused on UK schools. It is certainly true that there have been many unwise investments in technology. In almost every case where investment has not gone to plan the reason is overwhelmingly due to a lack of effective investment in continuing professional development (CPD) and teacher training: this often results in hardware sitting idle or teachers having little idea of how to use it effectively. Schools that are using technology well in the UK are not only seeing improved results in traditional examinations but also higher levels of pupil engagement, which improves overall outcomes.

 

“The crucial point is that we have all to agree what education should be like for the coming decade, but few could argue that any strategy that ignores the technology our children use every day and that permeates working lives will risk failure.”

 

Wright concludes with a warning. “I would advise against a one sided argument either for or against the use of technology in learning. It is in our most outstanding schools that we see an effective blend of traditional teaching practice and the innovative use of technology.”

The search for the nation’s best young Mathematicians is here!

National Young Mathematicians’ Awards Return

The UK’s biggest maths competition for school teams across the country has returned.  The National Young Mathematicians’ Awards, which are open to teams of four children aged 9 to 11 from schools all over the UK is set to be bigger than ever before with Britain’s brightest maths brains taking on the challenge to be crowned champions!

Each year, tuition provider, Explore Learning, joins forces with the highly prestigious NRICH Project at the University of Cambridge to give children the chance to show off their maths skills in front of the country’s leading mathematicians.  

Now in its sixth year, the competition is easy for schools and teachers to enter and will consist of three rounds.  The first is a knockout contest undertaken at an Explore Learning centre on either the 10th, 11th or 12th November.  Those victorious will go through to a regional Semi Final on 25th November where schools battle it out against other top schools in their area with the five highest scoring maths brains winning a place in the Grand Final at the University of Cambridge on 8th December.

Last year’s winners were a team of four hugely talented young mathematicians from Holbrook Primary School in Horsham, West Sussex who beat off more than 1,300 teams to be crowned champions.  They were awarded their prize by the world famous statistician, Sir David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge University, and Carey Ann Dodah from Explore Learning.

Carey Ann Dodah, Head of Curriculum at Explore Learning says: “We had such an overwhelming response to last year’s National Young Mathematicians’ Awards and the enthusiasm, ambition, determination and creativity from all the children that took part in the Grand Final was wonderful to see.  Maths is so often regarded as a subject that can put children off their studies but this competition shows that not only is it fun and engaging, but a fantastic opportunity to build on teamwork, reward children’s success, develop their confidence and realise their skills for numbers.

“In all the rounds children are challenged to solve a multi-layered, high-level problem.  Teams are assessed on their ability to get to the root of the problem, teamwork and their true mathematical thinking.”

Last year more than 1,300 teams entered the competition with the top five making it to the Grand Final at the University of Cambridge.  Finalists included Mortimer Primary School from South Shields, Cheadle Hulme School from near Stockport, Barry Primary School in Northampton and Ashton House Primary School in Isleworth.

The deadline for schools to submit their team is Friday 9th October. For more information and examples of other past problems teachers and schools can visit www.explorelearning.co.uk/youngmathematicians or contact their local Explore Learning centre. 

www.explorelearning.co.uk/youngmathematicians

DISCOVERY EDUCATION HOSTS VIRTUAL PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SESSION EMPOWERING EDUCATORS TO TEACH CODING

discovery education logo

 

− 2015 Coding Camp provides educators activities and tools to equip pupils with the critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary to be competitive in a digital age. −

 

United Kingdom September 2015— Pupils may have had a brief respite from school, but summer continued to be a time dedicated to teaching and learning for educators. From 16 June to 31 July, Discovery Education, in its core mission to empower educators with high-quality content and pedagogical strategies, hosted a free, virtual event for its school partners seeking to strengthen their toolbox of strategies for teaching coding, a topic which accounts for half of the new Computing programme of study.

 

“I really enjoyed working through a cycle of steps to help develop computational thinking. I believe this sequence of working can be used in other areas of the curriculum, and the examples from the websites helped to illustrate the theories underpinning the pedagogy,” explained Coding Camp participant, Sean Hall, IT Coordinator at Scotholme Primary School, Nottingham.

 

During the 7-week camp, participants studied the six phases of the computational cycle, practical examples and activities to implement during each phase, applications of the concepts, and a scheme of work. In considering the process of planning, developing, creating, and reviewing a computer game, educators thought about how pupils could develop a digital story using the same tools and process. By the end of the virtual professional development, participants created a portfolio of activities and tools to share with colleagues and students.

 

“As for this school year, I intend to use the knowledge I gained to help other members of staff during staff meetings, inset days, and informal CPD with my colleagues. I think it will improve the teaching of computing, as teachers will be able to improve their own computational thinking to aid questioning and coaching of the children,” Sean further shared.

 

More than 800 schools, with over 1,100 educators, participated in the second annual Coding Camp, which was free for Discovery Education users. To further support educators in teaching coding, Discovery Education Coding provides complete support for teaching coding in primary schools. A scheme of work, lesson plans, and helpful video tutorials are included in this service, which aligns with the National Curriculum. For more information on Discovery Education Coding visit: http://www.discoveryeducation.co.uk/what-we-offer/discovery-education-coding.

 

“As we enter the second academic year with coding as part of the National Curriculum, Discovery Education is supporting teachers with high-quality content to enhance the delivery of this complex subject, so their students have a great learning experience and achieve success. Coding Camp exemplifies Discovery Education’s core mission to empower educators with ready-to-implement technologies, pedagogical strategies, and a network of professionals,” said Christine Major, Director of Professional Development at Discovery Education.

 

For more information regarding the 2015 Coding Camp, please visit: http://www.discoveryeducation.co.uk/coding-camp.

Sahara Attributes AV Award Success To Early Adoption Of New Technologies By Schools And Colleges

Cleverstore on Clevertouch Plus

At this year’s AV Industry Awards, it is the education technology providers that are set to create a storm and lead the way in terms of innovation and development.   Kevin and Nigel Batley, founders and directors of Sahara Presentation Systems plc, better known to the education sector as the manufacturer of Clevertouch, have both been recognised in the Outstanding Achievement category.  This is due, in no small part, to the way in which UK schools and colleges are paving the way over other sectors as the early-adopters of new technologies.
Sahara has also been shortlisted for Manufacturer of the Year and Distributor of the Year and Clevertouch, the interactive front of class touchscreen manufactured by Sahara, has been shortlisted for Product of the Year. The winners will be announced at the AV Awards 2015 on 25th September.
Kevin and Nigel have been instrumental in positioning Sahara as the forward thinking and innovative AV provider within the education sector.  They recognised early on the trend for the education sector to be outward focused in their approach to selecting new technologies within the classroom.  Young people are natural early adopters and as such many head teachers, teachers and school boards are keen to ensure their pupils are able to take advantage of the very latest in technology hardware.
Through their work with schools and colleges, Kevin and Nigel realised that it’s not just the power of hardware that is required to engage pupils and improve the learning environment.  The creativity and availability of software and apps is of equal importance.  Sahara has spent the past 12 months developing the recently launched Cleverstore App Store, available for free on the Clevertouch Plus screen, which gives teachers instant access to leading educational digital and collaboration tools.
Shaun Marklew, Sales & Marketing Director, Sahara Plc says “Over the years I have had some fantastic mentors; and Kevin and Nigel are no exception. Their dedication to the business and the education sector is second to none. I’m very proud to be working for Sahara at this exciting time, and working with such inspirational colleagues makes it very rewarding.”
Clive Couldwell, Editor, AV Magazine comments “It’s a great personal pleasure to recognise companies that have been part of the backbone of the AV industry over such a long period, and have behaved with such integrity.”